How to Pick an Accredited RN Course near Gadsden Alabama
Selecting the best nursing program near Gadsden AL may seem like a complex endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your residence is probably not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are several crucial additional considerations to check out before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are offered together with what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Gadsden AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing School Degree Options
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Gadsden AL area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more favored way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend college for many Gadsden AL students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Why Nursing?Nurses are an important part of a Gadsden AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to a number of opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, the most meaningful are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a medical facility or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often choose the profession due to a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This human side of the health profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related aspects, is appealing to many who choose to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work environments, such as home care facilities, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses provide personal patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Gadsden AL or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Gadsden AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Gadsden AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs you are considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Gadsden AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Gadsden AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Alabama RN Program
Picking the right nursing degree program is arguably the most critical step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of factors that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this content, it is important that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Gadsden Alabama.